Editor's note: Email photos of graduates to bpeer@tapinto.net to be included in photo gallery.

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Last Friday, on a beautiful, but blustery evening, the New Providence High School Class of 2019 received their diplomas in the school’s 60th Commencement Program.

174 members of the class of 2019 walked through the gates in a procession to Lieder Field to Pomp and Circumstance played by members of the New Providence High School band. 

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Graduates heard speeches from several people, including the school's principal, Lauren Zirpoli, district Superintendent Dr. David Miceli, BOE President Adam Smith, Valedictorian John Palmer and Salutatorian Ben Peng and Srividya Vinjamuri. 

In his speech, Smith said, "You’ve been taught from right from wrong, how to make good decisions, how to analyze situations and use critical thinking -- so what other advise could I possibly give you tonight on your last day of high school -- I don’t think I can -- but I will try." His advise to the graduates, "Trust your instincts, you are going to leave this school knowing how to make the right decisions. That is what you have been taught all of these years. How to exercise good judgment. -- More often than not, your instincts will lead you to the right decisions as you move forward." 

Valedictorian John Palmer said, "Whether life takes you far from here or you never leave, don’t forget to keep with you the lessons you learned and the friends you made here at home." 

He said, "We didn't just get by, we excelled at our pursuits -- unparalleled success." He listed some of this year's accomplishments that include conference, sectional and group titles. "The boys basketball team had its most successful season in school history and the wrestling team doubled their win total from last year," he said. He also listed the marching band's national championship, music ensembles performing at Disney, the success of the musical "Chicago", STEM competitions, and community service field trips, to name a few.  

He provided advise from the perspective of his little sister who was also celebrating a promotion -- from kindergarten to first grade. "Little kids are almost always happy. -- I think we can all learn a little something from [how] young children go about life." -- "Even when my sister does stress on things -- it’s clear she understands that each new day is full of excitement and freedom no matter how much uncertainty it may bring. Like her, we should embrace the unknown with one arm, seize the moment with the other and never let go."

He also told his senior class, "Share what you have -- sharing fosters meaningful relationships. -- Ultimately it will be these relationships and the shared experiences in our classes, athletic teams and school clubs that we will be reminiscing with each other at our class reunions down the line. Remember to make time for the things you enjoy."

Class Salutatorian Ben Peng said, "At New Providence, our winning mentality is engrained in our roots." -- "My parting message is simple -- Be A Pioneer -- Pioneers are those who venture into new territories, who try the daring things and do the things that other people wouldn’t do. They're the ones that seize the moment. As we all go our separate ways across the county, we must always keep our Pioneer spirit alive. Remember your home town but also explore and fearlessly invite new experience. After all, that is what being a New Providence Pioneer is all about." 

Principal Lauren Zirpoli and Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Miceli then spoke on the class of 2019 and certified them as a graduating class, which led to the presentation of diplomas to all of the students.

After the diplomas were handed out, Srividya Vinjamuri was the last student to speak. She reflected on their four years, 720 days, 5,040 hours, 302,400 minutes of high school -- "The moment is here," she said. "The concept of being a pioneer has great meaning -- a pioneer is someone who has the ability to prepare -- someone who challenges the status quo and will not accept that there is only one other way but creates their own. A pioneer is someone who starts the building of a better world for others. --- Congratulations to the class of 2019."

New Providence High School Alma Mater

Just as the mighty pioneer,

So straight, so tall and true.

We proudly stand to pledge our faith.

New Providence, in you.

Raise high our colors green and white.

Raise high our standards, too.

New Providence, we sing this song.

Our Alma Mater true.

In honor, truth and unity

We'll know your guiding light.

To you our hearts will loyal be.

Of you our memories bright.

Whatever future days may bring,

Whatever trails we blaze.

Forever, we, the pioneers,

To you our voices raise.